Saturday, February 20, 2016

Total loss

Our phone rang at 11:45 p.m. last night. Calls at that hour rarely bring good news. This one was from Jilda's brother who lives next door. The first words out of his mouth were, "We're all fine. But the house across the road is on fire."

I scrambled out of bed for my shoes and a flashlight, but I really didn't need a light. Flames engulfed the house sending sparks into the night sky. The people who lived there the last several years fell on hard times and couldn't make payments. They left in December. 

Earlier this week, the power company came and pulled the meter. We expected For Sale signs in the yard, but those never appeared.

No long after my brother-in-law's call I heard screaming sirens in the distance, and a few moments later firetrucks huffed to a halt. A crew of volunteer firemen worked together like a well-oiled machine unwinding hoses and flipping pump levers.  Within what seemed like seconds, they put a stream of water as big as my arm on the blaze.

I told one of the firemen that no one lived in the house thinking they should know that before sending someone in harms way to look for residents that no longer lived there.

For another 20 minutes, more firemen and more trucks arrived from surrounding communities to lend a hand.  These are guys that work day jobs, coach little league, and countless other things required by life. But when they get the 911 call, and someone is in need, they stop what they are doing and respond. I have lots of respect for these guys.

The house was a total loss. It wasn't because they didn't respond, but because the house was vacant and the fire started in the middle of the night. It was too far gone to save before my brother-in-law made the call to 911. 

We didn't get a lot of sleep after that. Even after the flames were doused and red lights no longer flashed on our bedroom blinds, sleep came slow, and it was fretful for both Jilda and me.

Today, I checked smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

So tonight will be an early to bed night here in the Watson Household.


  1. I wonder what set the fire to that empty house. It kind of looks suspicious.

  2. It's unnerving when something like that happens - especially in the middle of the night.

    Ms Soup

  3. I'm glad the house wasn't occupied when that happened.
    Daddy worked with a volunteer fire and rescue squad years ago. In rural areas, often by the time they arrived, nothing could be done. When asked, they would say, "We saved the chimney."
    Hope you get a more restful night of sleep tonight.

  4. Since the electric company had already pulled the box, it must not have been caused by wiring. Do they know what caused the fire? Hope you got some better sleep withoutany excitement tonight.

  5. It's good that no one was living there. Night fires must be the worst. Always good to make sure those alarms are working.

  6. this was interesting. Now I wonder too how the fire started. If no wiring was hooked, it could have been something as simple as birds building nest and picked up a burning cigarette butt. I glad no one was in the house and you and Jilda didn't get smoked out of your own home. This will be the talk of the neighborhood today.

  7. I'm so sorry for the loss of that home but thankful nobody lived there. We heat with wood and boy I get anxious every time we leave. When I was a kiddo I was home with my 3 younger siblings and our home started on fire from electric wires in the attic. Thankfully we all got out but we lost the upper floor and all our clothes and many things stored in the attic. I'll never forget it and maybe I will blog about that time because my Dad's support and love at that time shaped my life in ways he'll never know. I hope the rest of the weekend is good...take care!

  8. I seldom see a house fire (vacant or occupied) that I don't think of all the stories that building held.
    Glad it wasn't occupied and especially it was not 'personal' bad news.
    BIL was smart to start the conversation with 'WE ARE FINE'. Some folk don't know to do that.

  9. My thought was the same as Julia.

  10. Like others have said, thank God no-one was injured. After the investigation's all said and done, it will be interesting to see what will rise from the ashes.

  11. A house on fire (even an empty house) is sad and scary. It is good that you reminded everyone to check smoke detectors and keep fire extinguishers up to date.

    1. Anonymous1:28 PM

      That is SO important!!

  12. Yes, thank goodness no one was hurt. Makes you wonder though how the fire started.

  13. Oh how terrible that there was a fire so close to you but good that no one was in the house and in danger, I expect the smell of smoke would linger for a while

  14. wonder if it was arson.

  15. Too bad about the house! Glad everyone was safe where you live! Bless those firemen! They are brilliant!

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